I’ve been spending a lot of time watching Let’s Play videos recently. If you haven’t heard of them, basically it’s a thing they started on the Something Awful forums, where someone plays all the way through a video game, recording the experience via screenshots or video capture, and adds their own audio or subtitled commentary. If you’re like me, and rarely finish games (and so never find out how the story ends) and/or enjoy watching someone else playing video games nearly as much as playing them yourself (sometimes more, depending on the game), then this is a terrific entertainment resource, particularly if the player is knowledgeable and/or witty.
Here are the particular ones I’ve watched so far and would recommend:
No More Heroes — I only watched the end of this; I’d gotten as far as the pre-Rank 2 fight stuff before getting distracted and leaving the game unfinished. I would recommend watching all of it, though, if you’ve never played No More Heroes; it’s a fun time. The guy playing is quite good, and his friend doing the color commentary is… well, a lot of his humor doesn’t quite hit the mark, but he’s funny sometimes, and seems like an alright fella.
Killer7 — Same two guys again, playing an earlier game by Suda51, the same guy that made No More Heroes. The story is very, very weird. It’s a very weird game in general, and is well worth a watch if you like assassins, exploding zombies, and David Lynch movies.
Patapon — I bought a PSP Go basically just so I could play this game. It is a lot harder than this guy makes it look, it turns out. :/ …but, it is a beautiful game, and a lot of the music simply kicks ass, so I recommend giving it a look. Commentary is via subtitles, which is nice because it doesn’t obstruct the music.
Myth: The Fallen Lords — This was one of my favorite games from back in the day before Bungie sold out to The Man. Real-time tactics, with no bullshit resource gathering and unit construction, what’s better than that? …Well, turn-based tactics, I guess, but that ship has pretty much sailed. The commenter here is an excellent player, and also includes some interesting tidbits of trivia about the game, and provides blooper clips of things that went wrong as he was recording each section — mostly consisting of his dwarfs blowing themselves up in amusing ways. I hope he does a Myth 2 LP eventually.
Psychonauts — Man, this is a terrific game. I only watched the end of this, because I was never able to beat the last (insanely difficult) level, but if you’ve never played this game, you should watch the whole thing. It’s well-written, and very funny. The guy playing is also very good, and in fact he does a 100% complete run in this LP, which if you’ve ever played you know that’s not something to sneeze at. The downside is that the commentary is audio, and this guy’s voice is not one made for audio. He’s got a nasally voice with what seems like a touch of some foreign accent, and a heavy lisp. Still, though, this game is filled with so much great humor, I suggest watching anyway, and hopefully the dude’s voice is something you’ll get used to.
Legacy of Kain — This is a screenshot-based LP of all four games of the Legacy of Kain series. (Yes, there were only four. Blood Omen 2? What are you talking about, there was never a Blood Omen 2. We have always been at war with Eastasia.) Video clips of the major cutscenes are included, but in some format that I couldn’t get to play in my browser. YMMV. Anyway, I’ve always been a huge fan of the overarcing storyline of the Legacy of Kain games, so I definitely recommend giving this a read.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream — A neat old adventure game based on a short story by Harlan Ellison (who also provides the voice of the villain, but this LP is screenshots, so oh well.) It was a neat game, and this is a fun read.
Braid — Everyone who’s even a little into video games should play Braid, or at the very least watch it played. It really is the best and most imaginatively-designed platformer I’ve ever seen. This is a 100% complete run, and some of the things that the player has to pull off to accomplish it are frankly insane.
Silent Hill — I’m in the process of watching this now, since SH2 was one of my favorites but I never played the first one. The guy playing certainly knows what he’s doing and is obviously a big fan of the game. He’s a good commentator, too — amusing in places, but not really trying to do a comedy thing. Just a dude running you through one of his favorite games and sort of chatting with you while he does it. It’s cool.
If any of you have run across a Let’s Play that you would recommend, hit me up with a link in the comments.